Did you know that when a parent knows or is decisive about what to do next with their child, the child gains confidence? It’s called mirror neurons. A child will reflect or imitate our actions. If we are anxious and unsure, the child will be anxious and unsure. If we are calm and confident, then…well you get the idea.
A few weeks ago I attended a seminar about the Circle of Security. This is a simple model for parents to use in attaching to their children. In the world of foster care and adoption, this usually is a challenge. Below is a diagram describing the Circle of Security.
A young child usually will go around this circle several times in an hour especially if in a new environment. A teenager goes around the same circle of security it just looks a little different. Instead of the exploration lasting just a few minutes, it will be hours, days, maybe months at a time. But they still need us as parents to watch over them, delight in them, and help them when they need help. Eventually they will return home for protection, comfort, and processing.
We as parents, whether of a young or older child, need to be a safe haven and a secure base for them.
Here is a great short video that explains this circle of security in more depth.
A child begins this journey the moment they are born. They constantly are exploring their new, scary world. If their parent is their to protect, soothe, and delight in them, then they confidently venture further out into this world. The cool thing is that our natural instinct as parents is to do exactly this for a newborn child. Take a look at this precious video of Baby Oliver waking up:
As parents and caretakers are normally drawn to a newborn like this. We want to protect and comfort them.
But what if Oliver woke up in an orphanage with no one there for him? Or what if he woke up in an abusive home? How would his wiring and ability to attach be different?
Sadly children from a hard place often miss out on the bigger, stronger, wiser, kind caretaker/parent in their life. For some, it might be for a few hours or days because of a neonatal medical cause. For others it is more chronic like abuse or neglect.
- I can tell at any moment where my child is on the circle—exploring their world, returning home, or in their safe haven. When you identify this, you can easily tell what they need from you.
- My abilitytoprovide a secure and safe for them to return willgreatlydetermine how well mychildattaches.
- Secure parents can stand back and see what they are doing (and not doing) for their children. (Dr. Kent Hoffman)
- Secure parents can admit where they struggle and, for the sake of their children, work to find another way. (Dr. Kent Hoffman)
- I need to learn to be with my child enough so that they feel like they are on their own.
I could keep going, but I hope this interests you enough to explore this concept. If so, please visit CircleofSecurity.net.